On the 9th of November, I left my first country of the race and headed to my second. At the beginning of my race, I told myself that after every country I would write a thank you letter to it. A letter commemorating the irreplaceable experiences and fantastic journeys I went on in that country. SO, since I now live in Peru on my third month of the race, here is a Thank You letter to Ecuador and the first two months of my race.
Thanks, Public Bus System//
Thanks for never being reliable and almost never having an open seat. Monday through Wednesday every week we traveled an hour on the public bus system to ministry. Another hour on the way home. The public bus is a good way to minister to people through the little things. When you have been standing for 38 minutes and the seat you have been eyeing on the shaded side of the bus FINALLY opens, ministry looks like giving that seat up and continuing to stand in the burning heat. Sometimes the bus is dead empty, usually when we are running late, and ministry looks like smiling at random people who pass by. People are everywhere in Ecuador, sometimes ministry looks like paying abundant attention to the guy who gets on the bus at one stop and tries to sell cake until the next stop who constantly gets ignored. Bus ministry is simple, and though it wasn’t a focused ministry, I learned what it looks like to live on mission while traveling to and from places. God works great through little acts of kindness. Thanks, Ca-tar bus and .25 cent daily rides.
Thanks for showing me that I still don’t really like kids, but I will love them as Jesus loves them. COVI was the Monday-Wednesday ministry we traveled on the public bus to. It is an after school program where we cleaned/weeded/swept the ground/made posters/ate cake in the morning and hung out/fed kids/cleaned some more/played WAAAAAY too many rounds of Uno in the afternoon until we left. I learned a lot about slowing down and appreciating small things when I was at COVI. Ministry doesn’t have to be fast-paced and physical all the time. It also doesn’t have to be evangelism or VBS 24/7. Ministry at COVI was slow and sweet. Our ministry hosts didn’t speak a lick of English but God provided a lot of grace in the language department. COVI was a place where I learned that ministry to kids can just be laughing with them about my Spanish and holding their hand on our walk to the park. Thanks, COVI for all the smiles and teaching me more about simple ministry. Thanks, God that you are good and allow sweet bonds to be formed with even sweeter kids.
Thanks, Senior Home//
Fun fact, I also don’t really like old people. (Okay, not that I don’t like them, I am just not comfortable and don’t know how to minister to them.) The Senior home was our weekly Thursday ministry. When we visited the ministry just to learn about it, I was excited because I thought we would get to do more work with them and hang out with the folks but our first day of real ministry rolled around and we seemed to be more in the way than helpful. We tried to help out with the physical therapy, but we didn’t know what we were doing or how to help the Tia’s really. The Tia’s sent us outside and for the rest of our first day of ministry, we weeded. I learned a lot from weeding at the senior home. For a few weeks following our first day, all we were tasked with was weeding the concrete ground. Weeding from the concrete is HARD, tough soils makes the pulling process rough on the hands. Deep roots run under the layer of concrete and make it almost impossible to pull up. But, when it rained, the soil got soft and the roots were able to be moved. The weeds were infinitely easier to pull from soft soil. God showed me that my heart has to have soft soil to remove the things in there that are not of Him. God softened my soil for service to the folks. He pulled out the weeds in my heart that were grounded in comfortable ministry.
We also got to paint a mural at the senior home. The place was all white with a gray concrete ground. It was sad, and it needed some new life. We were able to paint flowers, representing the beautiful life God creates for us, and we are included in that beautiful life. Thanks, senior home for pulling me out of my comfort zone and for sloooooow+sweet ministry. Thanks, God for breaking my heart for a group of people that needed a visible reminder of how you make us new and beautiful. Father, your hope pours immensely over the lives there.
Thanks, Mabe + Fabi
Fridays were spent at home with our hosts. Our team was the only team that got to do one of our ministry days at home, and I can’t explain how much of a blessing that has been in my life. Mabe and Fabi were building a new home for themselves on the property. They needed a place to live and a place to be filled up after constantly pouring out love to teams and missionaries. We got to have a small part in the help of construction. We dug pathways and moved rocks in the garden. We shoveled lots and LOTS of dirt out of the way of the home. We sanded and painted and swept and cleaned. We were able to say “thank you for your service” to them by serving them in return. Serving Mabe and Fabi allowed my team to form a special bond with them, and as we were serving them, they continued to teach us so much about Gods character. They are patient and loving when we bust a pipe that is vital for the home. They pour out forgiveness when we get our dirty fingerprints on the freshly painted white walls. They are abundantly kind and endlessly caring. Mabe and Fabi exude the love of Christ, and we got to experience that not only every day of living with them but every day we were able to serve them.
Thank you for providing a family in a different country. Thank you for giving the best hugs and for the cute nicknames. Thank you for showing me how my passions can be used to serve others. Thank you for teaching me the importance of having my cup overflow and having it pour onto others. Thank you, Mabe and Fabi for loving us for two months in-person and for many more months of love from afar. Thanks, God for placing me in the path of your Kingdom workers.
Thank you for being my first month of the race. Thank you for making me look at cities in a new way. Thank you for providing new experiences and laughs every day. Your people are beautiful and are so willing to lean into Gods love. Ecuador, you have produced trials of homesickness and loss, but you have taught me the importance of being here, now. You have shown me happiness in the mountains and joy in the historic cities. I have experiences love in the public park over sharing bubble waffles and have experienced life while exploring your land. Ecuador, you have now taken a piece of my heart. Thank you for the memories, and Thank you God for bringing me to Ecuador.